Hong Kong Champion jockey Zac Purton is playing a pivotal role in the fortunes of Kiwi runners in this year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Last Saturday he upset the applecart when driving late with Artorius to nab the Mark Walker-trained Imperatriz on the line to win the Gr.1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick.
He will be on the other side of the coin with Kiwis next month after accepting the ride on Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) runner-up Andalus in the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 1.
There has been fierce competition to secure the services of the in-form hoop in the A$2 million Classic, with Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh coming out on top.
Andalus is currently a $12 winning chance with bookmakers for the Australian Derby, with New Zealand Derby hero Sharp ‘N’ Smart at the top of the market at $4.
Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi Imperatriz will head to Melbourne later this month to continue her autumn preparation after her runner-up performance at Randwick last weekend.
Trainer Mark Walker has earmarked the Gr.1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24 as her main assignment.
She is set to renew her rivalry in the race with Babylon Berlin, who she defeated in the Gr.1 Railway (1200m) and Gr.1 BCD Group Sprint (1200m) in their last two meetings.
– NZ Racing Desk